Sparks rout Silver Stars, Hammon hurtBy CURTIS ZUPKE, Associated Press Saturday, Jul 6, 2013
LOS ANGELES (AP)—Nneka Ogwumike had 24 points and a season-high 16 rebounds, and Candace Parker added 18 points to help the Los Angeles Sparks beat the San Antonio Silver Stars 93-66 on Saturday and extend their regular-season home winning streak to 18 games.
The Silver Stars also lost star Becky Hammon to a knee injury in the second quarter. The seven-time All-Star, who was playing in her first game of the season after missing the first 10 with a broken finger on her shooting hand, went down near the baseline with 6:14 left in the second quarter. She was carried off the court and didn’t return.
“We’ll get it checked out,” San Antonio coach Dan Hughes said. “We’ll get her home and then have our doctors take a look at it.”
Lindsey Harding added 14 points and A’dia Mathies and Kristi Toliver each had 12 for the Sparks (8-4), who pulled even with the Minnesota Lynx and Phoenix Mercury for first place in the Western Conference. Los Angeles improved to 8-0 at home this season and will go for its first road victory Thursday.
Los Angeles has won its eight home games by an average of 22.3 points. Will it translate to the road?
“That’s the one thing we discussed after the game is that we need to be road warriors,” said Ogwumike, who was hit in the face twice and had a cut on her face. “So we want to come out and practice hard. Coach said we’re going to work on the fundamentals when we come back from our day off and bring it to the road because Tulsa’s going to be hard to win at their place.”
San Antonio used an 11-1 run to close to 55-44 on Danielle Robinson’s drive before Parker scored the next six points. Parker also got a block and a rebound during the sequence and fed Harding for a layup to give L.A. a 65-45 lead after three quarters.
DeLisha Milton-Jones scored 20 points to lead the Silver Stars (3-8), who lost for the seventh time in eight games.
“We’ve been given some blows this year thus far that kind of seem unfair,” Milton-Jones said. “For one team to have this many adverse situations thrown at us when it comes to dealing with injuries. Becky is definitely a key part of everything that we have here and we were anxiously awaiting her return. We’re just praying to God it’s nothing serious.”
San Antonio, which only dressed eight players in its previous game, also returned center Jayne Appel, who had been out since June 11 because of a concussion and Shenise Johnson from a knee injury. But L.A. outscored San Antonio 50-26 in the paint and held the Silver Stars to 36 percent shooting.
Los Angeles outscored San Antonio, 54-28, in the paint, and 20-4 on fast-break points. Ogwumike had a double-double at halftime with 13 points and 10 rebounds to help give the Sparks a 39-29 lead. She scored inside for the go-ahead basket at 25-24, then finished a nice feed from Harding and converted a tough bank shot from the right side.
“I asked her, `Do you know how many games it would take me to get 16 rebounds?”’ Harding said. “This is her (23rd) birthday week, so we’re attributing that to that. But she’s an outstanding player. It shows you how good she really can be. It also shows you versatile this team is. (On Thursday, Toliver) went crazy. Today it was Nneka.”
Robinson, the WNBA’s leader in assists, had only two assists through three quarters and finished with five. Johnson had 12 points and Robinson had 10. Appel had eight points and nine rebounds.
In 2000 and 2006, the Sparks started the season 9-0 at home. San Antonio is the last team to beat Los Angeles at home in the regular season, on June 24, 2012.