The Connecticut Sun (22-6), winners of their last 10 games, travel Thursday to 22:30 ET to Los Angeles Sparks (10-18), who dropped their last five games. With the end of the regular season, the Sun sits just 1.5 games ahead of the Las Vegas Aces in second place, while the Sparks are half a game behind eighth place in New York Liberty.
For the third consecutive week, Sun center Jonquel Jones named the Eastern Conference Player of the Week, a few days after being named Eastern Conference Player of the Month for August. Jones is just like her an excellent candidate for the most valuable player averages 19.9 points and 10.9 rebounds.
The Sun is not a team with a high score fourth-the worst score with 79.2 points per game. Still, Connecticut is the best defensive team in the league, with teams up to 70.7 points, which is 7.3 points better as the next team. It is their defensive skill that they have been carrying all year.
Although Nneka Ogumike was only available for 14 matches, she clues LA in score and rebound with averages of 14.2 and 5.9, respectively. In her first season with the Sparks, Erica Wheeler scored a career highlight 13.5 points per game.
The Sparks struggle on offense all year long, just like the violation with the lowest score in the WNBA with 72.8 points per game while scoring a low 40.4 percent as a team. If the Sparks were average against the offense, they could put four to five places higher on the standings because of their work on defense. The Sparks defense rating is 98.1 fourth best in the league, behind the Sun, Las Vegas Aces and Seattle Storm.
The Sun has won both previous meetings between these two teams, 76-72 and 76-61. If the Sparks are going to close the Liberty, their defense must reach new heights. A win for Connecticut would push their lead over the Aces to two games, with three games to play for both and a double-header.
Los Angeles Sparks (10-18) vs. Connecticut Sun (22-6)
When: Thursday 9 September at 22:30 ET
Where: STAPLES Center, Los Angeles, CA
How to watch: NBA TV, Spectrum SportsNet, NESN, TSN2
Key to matching: Expect a low, very competitive ratio. Both teams defend very well, and the match can have an almost-play-out atmosphere, as both sides play with a sense of urgency.
Sparks Injury Report: Chiney Ogumike (doubtful; right knee), Kristi Toliver (out; left hand), Jasmine Walker (out for season; right knee)
Sun Injury Report: Alyssa Thomas (doubtful; Achilles)