Sparks need wins, and a lot of help to reach WNBA playoffs – San Bernardino Sun

LOS ANGELES — The Sparks have lost six of their last seven games since center Liz Cambage left the team, by way of a ‘contract divorce’ last month but there’s still a slim chance they could make the playoffs.

The Sparks are 13-21 overall and are currently 11th in the WNBA Standings. However, the team is only one game back from the eighth and final playoff spot, with two games remaining in the regular season, against the Connecticut Sun on Thursday and against the Dallas Wings on Sunday.

Since Cambage’s departure, the Sparks have played five road games, including a grueling four-game east coast road trip over seven days, that ended with half the Sparks players and coaches sleeping in an airport in Washington D.C., after their commercial flight, which had been previously delayed, was canceled at 1 a.m. EST on Monday.

The Sparks will host Connecticut (23-11) on Thursday at 7:30 p.m., in the second of back-to-back games at Arena. Connecticut beat the Sparks 97-71 on Tuesday, behind a strong performance by Jonquel Jones, who had 21 points and 10 rebounds, so containing the 6-foot-6 center, who was named the WNBA MVP last season, will be paramount.

With two games to go before the postseason, Sparks veterans Nneka Ogwumike and Brittney Sykes are steadfast in their desire to win and make the playoffs.

“We want to win this game and it’s coming with effort,” Ogwumike said. “It’s playing with team in mind, not the individual and so when things get hard sometimes, it’s easy to focus moreso on what’s going on with ‘my situation’ and that’s something I think we can be better in this next game on Thursday and also on Sunday.

“I’ve preached showing grace and I’m hoping that we can do that to each other, for us to be able to play as a team and not focusing on individual merits.”

The Sparks lost by 26 points to Connecticut Tuesday, leading to the question of whether the team fought all 40 minutes.

“I think as a whole, sure, but I think there’s also a lot of variables that contribute to exhaustion,” Ogwumike answered.

Sykes reiterated that the entire team wants to win.

“It’s been the feeling all season. We want to win,” Sykes said. “We’re trying to get to the playoffs, fighting our asses off, on and off the court. It’s not really much to say other than we want to win and we know what we have to do to win. We just have to do it.”

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