Sparks overpowered by Mystics without All-Star Nneka Ogwumike

1 group had its former most valuable player. The other did not. The result was as anticipated.

Elena Delle Donne dominated the Nneka Ogwumike-considerably less Sparks on Tuesday, dropping 26 details on 10-for-14 capturing in less than 28 minutes in the Washington Mystics’ 94-81 gain at Arena.

Ogwumike, the Sparks’ major scorer and rebounder with 18.8 details and 7.2 rebounds, was extra to the team’s injury report with a non-COVID ailment about 75 minutes before tip-off. The 11-calendar year veteran begun in her seventh All-Star Sport on Sunday and highlighted the weekend with a dunk, but was not witnessed at exercise Monday and skipped the shootaround Tuesday morning.

Interim coach Fred Williams said Ogwumike is day to working day but hopes to have her again Thursday versus the Chicago Sky at dwelling.

“I have to have her on Thursday, that is for certain,” Williams mentioned with a comfortable chuckle. “We missed her tonight.”

Without the need of their workforce captain, the Sparks, the next-ideal paint-scoring crew in the WNBA, had been outscored 40-26 in the paint. Liz Cambage experienced 8 points and a few rebounds on a few-for-9 taking pictures although the Sparks bought outrebounded 35-23.

“Nneka’s our engine and she’s like a silent killer and her IQ is tremendous substantial,” reported Chiney Ogwumike, who experienced 10 factors and 10 rebounds for her 2nd double-double in three online games. “Without her … that convenience zone that we’ve been in for a extensive time, it was type of a tiny disrupted.”

Delle Donne, who has been recovering from back medical procedures the previous two seasons, performed in L.A. for the to start with time since 2019 and uncovered a shorter-handed team. The 2019 most precious participant drained a corner three-pointer with 5:49 remaining in the fourth to stymie a comeback attempt soon after the Sparks (10-13) slice the deficit to five. Delle Donne and Natasha Cloud (21 factors and nine assists) were a combined 5 for 5 from three-point selection in the fourth quarter.

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The Mystics (15-10) improved to 12-4 this time when Delle Donne plays.

“Whether it is aspect time, complete time, quarter time, the league is better owning her out there,” Chiney Ogwumike claimed, “and we’re far better as opponents obtaining that obstacle.”

Sparks guard Brittney Sykes returned from a 4-match COVID-19 absence with 16 points off the bench.

Sykes, who isolated for a 7 days in Kristi Toliver’s Dallas household immediately after screening beneficial for the coronavirus on July 1 in advance of a game from the Dallas Wings, got off to a quick begin with 12 factors in the very first 50 %. She added two assists and 3 steals.

Katie Lou Samuelson experienced 16 factors on six-for-8 taking pictures, like 4 three-pointers.

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