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Sky struggle from three in 77-62 loss to Sparks

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LOS ANGELES — The Sky found themselves in a familiar late-game comeback position Friday night against the Sparks.

After trailing most of the game, the Sky cut the 10-point lead the Sparks’ had to open the fourth quarter to two with a little over five minutes to play. But a handful of turnovers and missed open looks amounted to a 77-62 loss to the Sparks.

“We have to make sure we come out with a sense of urgency,” Sky coach/GM James Wade said. “We’re not the type of team that can allow the game to come to us. We have to go get it.”

Similar to the Sky’s 18-point loss to the Dream on May 30, the Sky fell behind early. The Sparks opened the game on a 7-0 run forcing Wade to call a timeout.

The Sky’s first lead didn’t come until the third quarter after a made three from Alanna Smith.

Three of the Sky’s four losses this season have been in clutch games. Their loss to the Dream was the only one that wasn’t within five points in the final five minutes of play. However, the difference in Friday night’s loss in clutch time was the Sky’s struggles from the three-point line.

Coming into the game, the Sky (5-4) had the best three-point shooting percentage in the league. Against the Sparks, they shot 17.3% from deep.

“It was an off shooting night,” Smith said. “We got open shots. I know I had a lot of open shots that I missed tonight. We moved the ball pretty well. It just wasn’t our night from the three-point line. That happens.”

Smith led the Sky with 19 points, nine rebounds and five blocks. Elizabeth Williams added 14 points and five blocks and Kahleah Copper finished with 10 points.

Led by Nneka Ogwumike, the Sparks were able to control the paint. They had a two-point scoring edge on the Sky inside but outrebounded them 42-34.

The Sparks scored 18 points off of offensive rebounds. Ogwumike finished with 19 points. Dearica Hamby and Jordin Canada scored 16 points apiece.

Wade was adamant that the officials missed multiple three-second lane violations by the Sparks, which he said contributed to the Sky’s inability to establish proper spacing. In the fourth quarter, Sparks rookie Zia Cooke was issued a technical for a three-second violation.

Ultimately, the Sky lost Friday night because of their inability to establish themselves early. Their 17 turnovers, which the Sparks converted to 20 points, resulted from a rushed offensive approach.

“Hopefully, moving forward, we can find the balance of having a lot of energy but putting it in the right places,” Williams said.



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