Three Things To Watch: Sparks vs. Stars

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The San Antonio Stars face the Los Angeles Sparks as both teams are looking to stop their losing skids. The Stars (6-20) are coming off an 89-62 loss to the Connecticut Sun, while the Sparks (21-5) have lost two straight games. Here are three things to watch.

  • Where will the offense come from?

A recurring theme for San Antonio this season has been the lack of offensive efficiency. Currently, the Stars are last in points per game, and second-to-last in assists. Additionally, the Stars are only averaging 72.5 points per game, which is also last in the WNBA. San Antonio is 1-7 since Kayla McBride went down with a season ending injury, and has struggled to fill the void. The Stars will also be without Dearica Hamby (pregnancy), Kayla Alexander (concussion), and Alex Montgomery (knee). Moriah Jefferson is averaging 12.4 points and 4.2 assists, however, no other active player is averaging double-digits for the season.

  • Can the Stars force the Sparks into turnovers?

In their 70-66 loss to the Phoenix Mercury, Los Angeles committed 21 turnovers. Also, in its first game after the Olympic break, the Sparks turned the ball over 17 times in a losing effort to Seattle. If the Stars can force the Sparks into turnovers, it would create easy opportunities in transition. Jefferson is averaging 1.4 steals per game, which is the fifth best in the WNBA. ¬†Also, Sydney Colson is 18th in the WNBA in steals, with an average of 1.2. If San Antonio is struggling on offense, it could lead to Jefferson and Colson applying pressure on the Sparks’ ball handlers.

  • Will the Stars be able to contain Nneka Ogwumike?

Ogwumike is third in the WNBA in scoring, averaging 19.7 points per game. Additionally, she leads the WNBA in field goal percentage, converting 70.8 percent of her attempts. With a short-handed post rotation, it will be extremely difficult to keep Ogwumike in check. Jayne Appel-Marinelli is 11th in the WNBA in blocks, and will have to provide help defensively. Astou Ndour will also have to provide defense in the paint, and on the perimeter as Ogwumike has shown mid-range and three-point ability. It will be important for the San Antonio posts to avoid foul trouble while defending due to the limited bench as well.

Tip-off is set for 7 p.m. at the AT&T Center in San Antonio.

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