CONNECTICUT—Size proved to be the difference on Wednesday, May 27 as the Los Angeles Sparks opened their preseason with a 76-67 victory over the Chicago Sky at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut.
Nneka Ogwumike, two-time WNBA All-Star and 2012 WNBA Rookie of the Year, led the way with 15 points and 10 rebounds, while forward Jantel Lavender recorded her own double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds.
Another bright spot for first-year head coach Brian Agler was the production from Australian point guard Erin Phillips in her first time suiting up for the Sparks. She finished the game with 11 points, 8 assists and 4 steals.
The Sky, who began its preseason with a win over the New York Liberty last week, was paced by Courtney Vandersloot, who scored 15 points on 5-of-6 shooting. Elena Delle Donne scored nine points on 3-of-11 shooting.
The win was the first of back-to-back exhibition games for the Sparks in a preseason tournament hosted by the Connecticut Sun. Both teams will be back in action Thursday night, including a match-up for the Sparks with the host team, Sun, at 7 p.m. EST.
The Sparks are looking to improve upon a 2014 season in which they went 16-18, finishing fourth in the Western Conference. Los Angeles advanced to the WNBA playoffs, only to lose in the Western Conference Semifinals to the eventual WNBA champions, Phoenix Mercury. The Sparks roster has changed significantly, as six players from last year’s team are currently not with the Sparks, including 2-time WNBA MVP (2008, 2013) Candace Parker and fellow starter and 2013 WNBA All-Star Kristi Toliver.