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After blowout loss, Wings aim to respond vs. Sparks

Oct 10, 2021; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; A view of the offical game ball during the second half of game one of the 2021 WNBA Finals between the Phoenix Mercury and the Chicago Sky at Footprint Center. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

The Dallas Wings will continue a five-game road swing Tuesday night against a Los Angeles Sparks squad seeking its first back-to-back wins since the first two games of 2022.

Dallas (5-3) saw its three-game winning streak snapped Thursday in a 99-68 rout by the Connecticut Sun. The lopsided loss followed an 85-77 Wings victory over the Sun just two days earlier.

Marina Mabrey fueled the win over the Sun, which improved Dallas to 2-0 in Commissioner’s Cup competition, with a game-high 20 points. She also had a team-high four assists.

Mabrey scored just four points in the subsequent loss. Isabelle Harrison also finished with just four points. Harrison’s play in the paint could be central to the Wings’ efforts against Los Angeles, which boasts four-time All-Star Liz Cambage on the interior.

“I expect a lot from her. I put a lot of pressure on her, and she’s doing a great job,” Dallas coach Vickie Johnson said of Harrison. “She is one of the players who has multiple moves inside, so now she just has to use it and not settle for jump shots.”

Los Angeles (4-6) had dropped five straight entering its matchup last Wednesday with Phoenix, but a 99-94 win powered the Sparks to a 2-1 mark over a five-day stretch. Los Angeles bookended a 101-96 loss to Indiana on Friday with an 85-83 defeat of Minnesota on Sunday.

With the three consecutive close outcomes leading into Tuesday’s contest, the Sparks have played six games decided by margins of five points or less this season. Their last two wins marked the Sparks’ first two in Commissioner’s Cup games after an 0-3 start in the competition.

Tuesday’s matchup is another Commissioner’s Cup contest.

Chennedy Carter provided key performances in all three of Los Angeles’ outings last week. She recorded 12 points, three assists and a blocked shot in the win over Phoenix, went for nine points and five assists against Indiana, and finished with season highs of 20 points and six rebounds with four assists against Minnesota.

“Chennedy’s been adjusting to a new team, a new situation and a new role, trying to figure out where she fits in, and probably most importantly, what is it that I want from her,” Sparks coach Derek Fisher said Sunday.

A hamstring injury to Jordin Canada on Sunday provided more opportunity for Carter, who played a season-high 28:44. Canada, meanwhile, is averaging 11.3 points per game — third on the team behind Nneka Ogwumike’s 18.1 and Cambage’s 15.6 points per game — and a team-leading 5.3 assists per game.

–Field Level Media