Three things to watch: Stars vs. Sparks

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The San Antonio Stars hit the West Coast to battle the defending WNBA champion Los Angeles Sparks. The Stars (0-9) are still in search of their first win, while the Sparks (6-3) are sitting in the top tier of the standings. San Antonio is coming off an 85-81 loss to the Chicago Sky, and the Sparks defeated the Dallas Wings 97-87 in their last game. Here are three things to watch.

How will the Stars deal with Candace Parker and Nneka Ogwumike?

The post tandem of Parker and Ogwumike is arguably the best in the WNBA. Parker is averaging 16.4 points, 7.5 rebounds, 4.4 assists and 1.6 blocks per game. Her versatility creates many disadvantages defensively for San Antonio, as she can score from anywhere on the floor. She has the ability to play point guard, and can dominate in the post.

Ogwumike, the reigning league MVP, is averaging 21 points and 6.4 rebounds per game. What makes Ogwumike so difficult to defend is her mix of athleticism and efficiency. She also has long-range ability, so she too can stretch the defense.

The posts for San Antonio will have to contest every shot these two attempt, or else it will be a long night.

Can the Stars play a consistent 40 minutes?

A common theme in San Antonio’s losses this season have been poor showings in the second half. As a young team, it is common to see mistakes. However, the Stars have been unable to fully come out of the holes they’ve dug themselves into.

Looking at this game, the Sparks are simply too good and will take advantage of each mistake San Antonio makes.

Who will step up offensively for San Antonio?

In their last game, Moriah Jefferson led the team with 18 points, and Dearica Hamby added 17 off the bench. In order to remain competitive, the Stars will have to have multiple contributions on the offensive end. Kayla Alexander has provided scoring and energy off the bench consistently, and will have to do the same again. With an average of 17 points per game, Kayla McBride is the team’s leading scorer. If she can hit her perimeter shots early on, it will be a huge boost for the Stars’ offense. Having additional scoring options will also take some of the defensive pressure and focus off McBride.

Tip-off is set for 9:30 p.m. CT from the Staples Center in Los Angeles.

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